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Village Voices for July 8
By Tim Maloney, cyclingnews.com correspondent
Frankie VDB, what's up?
cyclingnews.com caught up with Frankie Vandenbroucke (Cofidis) at the start of Stage 7 in Tours, where we asked him if he was planning any attacks in the news few days. VDB was non-committal; " My condition is getting better and better so we'll see. I hope to win a stage at least...then we'll see." VDB's team mate Chris Peers echoed this; "Frank is getting stronger every day and I know he really wants to win a stage."
35 and Still Alive
Roberto Conti (Vini Caldirola) was joking with cyclingnews.com before Stage 7; he's younger than the Yellow Jersey Alberto Elli (36). We asked the experienced Italian, winner of L'Alpe D'Huez, what his goals are at Le Tour 2000: "My director (gesturing to Giosue Zenoni, team manager) wants me to go for the "classifica" (GC) since I was good in the Giro...I don't know yet how I'll be when the mountains come."
We've always found Conti one of the most open pro riders we know and we asked him the insiders view of the USPS team: "They are really good; really strong...Lance is in great shape, I think." But Conti also warned us to watch Pantani; "Marco will do something I'm sure," said Conti. That's interesting news coming from Conti, who was Pantani's key lieutenant during his Tour win in '98.
The Green Man
Marcel Wust (Festina) is having a tremendous Tour de France. The German sprinter has now traded his Pois jersey for the Green Points jersey with his second place finish in Limoges today. Before the start on Stage 7, we found Wust by his team car for a quick interview:
CN: Marcel, do you miss your Pois jersey ?
MW: no not really; I'm one point away from Green (points classification) so I'll work for that today if my legs feel good...
CN: how are you feeling ?
MW: Good now; I had a little (cough cough like chest congestion) the other day, but now I'm better...we'll see today.
We did indeed; a proud & pleased Wust easily won the field sprint behind stage winner Agnolutto (Ag2R Preyvoyance) and just ahead of German rival Erik Zabel to don his first ever green jersey at Le Tour De France.
Chick Magnet Bikers?
Most of the women who are part of the Tour De France entourage we've talked to think that Laurie Aus (Ag2R Preyvoance) and David Millar (Cofidis) are probably the best looking bikers in the year's Le Tour peloton. An informal survey in Le Village Depart brought both handsome bikers to the fore, but some women expressed an interest in seeing Lance Armstrong (USPS), even though he never shows up in Le Village.
Daniele Nardello (Mapei-Quick Step) is one of cyclingnews.com's Tour correspondents favourite riders. The quiet young man from Varese usually speaks with his legs, not his mouth but he favored cyclingnews.com with a quick interview in Tours:
CN: Daniele, how are you feeling ?
DN: Right now, good. But until we reach the mountain stages, I can't say good or bad...right now, I'm just staying on the wheels and waiting for the mountain stages...
Julich In Position
cycingnews.com also found American Bobby Julich before the start in Tours. Julich told us that he was feeling good; we asked Julich about his Credit Agricole teams 4th place TTT on Stage 4:"...oh definitely, I knew that to beat ONCE & USPS would be hard; we rode most consistent team trial that I've ever done and we were really pleased with it."
Julich went on to mention the fact that currently there are more Americans than ever in the top level of GC and that is an unprecedented occasion.